His Highness and I decided to take our Blue Heeler boys down to the local off leash dog park. It’s a nice brisk walk to get there; Taz and Wiley were eager to arrive.
We stood at one side of the field, happily throwing the ball for Taz to fetch. As usual, Wiley just raced Taz, occasionally running interference. Flicking the bouncing ball with his nose for Taz to catch in mid air. Making people stop to watch their speed and trickery.
Suddenly I felt tugging on my sleeve. “Excuse me,” the girl said.
I looked down. She appeared to be about twelve years old. She had been playing soccer with her friends on the far side of the field.
“Excuse me,” she repeated. “Could you please leave?”
I was pretty puzzled. “Pardon?”
“Can you please leave? I’m allergic to dogs.”
I looked around. Wondering if I was being prank’d. There was no sign of hidden cameras, so I told her, “This is a dog park.”
She looked at me blankly.
“This is a dog park. A park for dogs.”
“But I’m allergic.”
“Just go back and play where you were. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
She rejected my feeble attempt at reassurance. “I’m airborne!”
I stood for a moment, puzzling over what to do or say. Eventually I decided on honesty. “This is a dog park. We’re not leaving until we want to.”
She stared at me for a few minutes as we continued to throw the ball for the boys. Then she sadly trotted back to her friends.
I felt instantly guilty. Maybe we should have left? But what’s the point of a dog park if dogs can’t use it? So the boys kept playing while enthusiastically ignoring everybody else there. I think we did the right thing. Airborne, regardless.
Would you have left?
©Jan L. Mayes 2014
Jan L. MayesMSc, Aud(C), RAud
Author, audiologist, educator, quiet activist, playing with words.